By: Jordan Alderson, Heather Bushman, Tommy “T-Rod” Rodriguez, and Thomas Holton
COVID-19 has been hurting a lot of people. From college students having to adjust to entirely new study habits, to adults out of work, to everyone missing their old friends. Music has been one way that the SOFLOSOUND staff has been making it through the tough times we find ourselves in…
So we have decided to share some songs that we think can help you enjoy your time indoors. From the windows, to the walls, we believe these songs will make a solid base for music fans and nonmusic fans to find amazing new music. These songs are here to help others discover the sounds that can help them heal, laugh, and find new talents while the world burns around us.
“The River” – King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Brian Eno once said ambient music should be as ignorable as it is interesting. The same applies to this song, the opening track to King Gizz’s sixth album, Quarters! This track is a light, psychedelic listen I find myself putting on over and over, especially while trying to focus, doing work, or reading. It’s a song that I can listen to, zone out, tune back in, and repeat. What makes the band, and is evident in this song in particular, so interesting is their ability to not only transform their sound, but to almost transform time, making songs seem hours long and keeping you engaged the entire time. “The River” makes use of it’s light and airy sound to emphasize the point of the song: let life take you where it will and don’t fight the current.
“Valley Girl” – Frank Zappa & Moon Zappa
Story goes, Frank Zappa pulled his daughter, Moon Zappa, out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the studio and record this song. Whether or not that’s true, this satirical track makes me smile every time I listen to it. “Valley Girl” is a track satirizing the valley girl stereotype, making use of Moon’s spoken voice over upbeat Zappa instrumentals. The two drew inspiration from the song based on Moon’s conversations with her friends. The song touches on the topics of school, S&M, and shopping. There’s frequent valley girl slang references and of course, the valley girl accent. During quarantine, Zappa’s entire discography has kept me fully entertained. Not only was his music incredibly entertaining and funny, he was also an extremely talented composer who constantly pushed the boundaries of what could be considered popular music.
“Pack the Pipe” – The Pharcyde
This is one of the ultimate stoner songs. It’s a funky, jazz-influenced, animated song about one thing: getting blazed. This production of this song, and many other Pharcyde tracks, is what makes it so special. Their samples are incredibly creative and off-beat, and their use of layering of vocals gives their songs a fun, playful feel. Pack the Pipe is a song for when all of your homework is done and you want to pack the pipe.
“Summer Soft” – Stevie Wonder
I’ve been listening to Stevie a lot. Listening to him is like tapping into some eternal feeling of gratitude that’s bigger than right now. This is my favorite one from Songs in the Key of Life. It’s about how the seasons change, and it’s about how much we look to the future to bring us relief, and how that relief never comes because there’s always another season to look forward to. I’m trying to keep that in mind now, to take stock of myself every day. It’s hard to not let things blend together.
“Night and Day“ – Everything But the Girl
This is a moonlit song that makes me feel like I’m somewhere overseas. If you need to escape something, this is a good soundtrack for that. I really like how it sounds like it was recorded in a quiet lull on the patio of an old married couple’s home. Or around a campfire.
“Don’t Be Afraid” – Knxwledge
Knxwledge is the loop god and all I’ve been doing is looping this song on repeat. It starts off 1988 with some 90’s R&B love, and who doesn’t need some of that right now? Every beat Knxwledge makes is fluid and full of life, and his ability to create unique moods and juxtapositions is what makes him and this song phenomenal.
“Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst” – Kendrick Lamar
In a time where everything feels out of control, I’ve found that taking ownership of my productivity, putting my nose to the grindstone and using this excess time to my advantage, is an effective strategy for regaining some semblance of the regulation that’s been lost. I’ve always been able to get into a working rhythm with Kendrick Lamar’s “Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst” in the background, so when I’ve needed a boost in these past few weeks, it’s been my go-to. Between the steady kick-and-click beat, the low electric piano chords, and Kendrick’s even-keeled delivery (especially in the first half), it’s the perfect level of quiet intensity for getting in those high-quality work sessions. “Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst” is all business, and when I put it on, I can zero-in on the task at hand and eliminate any outside distractions. It’s so easy these days to lose sight of the end goals, but this track gives me exactly the kind of laser-focus I need to stay disciplined and keep the big picture in mind.
”Wonder Woman“ – Kacey Musgraves
“Going outside” seems to be an increasingly elusive activity as of late, so I’ve been spending a lot more time on my back porch to compensate for this sudden lack of Vitamin D. The soundtrack to my outdoor hours varies, but one way or another, I’ll end up at Kacey Musgraves’ 2018 classic, Golden Hour, every time. “Wonder Woman” in particular, with its mid-tempo groove, peaceful acoustic strums, beautifully layered vocals, and the intro harp line that just washes over the whole track, sounds overwhelmingly sunny. I find comfort from these complicated times in not only the bright instrumentals, but also lyrics that are so wonderfully simplistic, Musgraves shrugging the weight of the world off her shoulders to live and write as an authentic human being. With lush production and leveled lyricism, “Wonder Woman” is the sense of calm and serenity that keeps me connected with the natural aspects of life, even when I can’t technically leave the house.
“Window” – Now, Now
The central theme of the past few weeks, at least for me, has been time: how much we have, how quickly it passes, and how we choose to spend it. I’ve tried to be as productive and regimented as possible, but it’d be a lie to say that I’ve spent every minute crossing something off my to-do list and not staring at my ceiling fan, getting lost in thought in the middle of the night instead of sleeping. Luckily, I’ve also spent this time diving into new music, and Now, Now’s “Window” is a recent discovery that I’ve found to be an excellent insomnia companion. The slow jam adds intricate percussive effects and swelling synths to a delicate vocal delivery, and the way the elements work in tandem is absolutely ethereal. The final chorus is practically bursting at the seams, so glittery and glistening that, as I lie awake and absorb the totality of the sound through my headphones, I feel as though I’m already in a dream.
“Blu Collar Worker” – Blu & Exile
2020 has been a bad time to be a worker. With layoffs and a stagnant economy hurting damn near everyone in the world, there are only a select few left to work and keep the world running smoothly. “Blu Collar Worker” is an ode to both the hired and the unemployed, something that every everyone needs to hear. Exile’s soul samples, bouncy percussion, and beautiful chord progressions paint the difficulties of day-to-day work as something that may be tough, but ultimately builds character. Blu’s rapping about working odd-jobs to satisfy his needs rings all too true today, but it’s also a message to the unemployed. Work will come, so long as we hold true to our positivity. Smooth, blissful, and all too relatable, “Blu Collar Worker” is the anthem for the masses huddled indoors with their headphones and a love for hip-hop.
“Keep the devil Off“ – Big KRIT
While some truly careless people haven’t been following quarantine orders and attending religious services and beach openings, a vast majority of religious folk have been staying indoors to pray. “Keep the devil Off” is an inspiring Gospel-rap fusion that does more than just remind religious men and women at home to keep sin off their shoulders. It’s a bombastic rap-sermon that gets your body moving to its next goal. Whether it’s a home workout, chores, that Zoom lecture you swore you wouldn’t attend, or simply spending time with family, the song makes you want to achieve something,God dammit! While a lot of these days can be surrounded by fear and laziness, KRIT reminds us to keep our vices in check and accomplish something with every bar. Replace “devil” with “Coronavirus” and you’ll realize the song is applicable to every bad situation you may face today, so long as you follow the choir and stay away from the bad decisions you can make during this pandemic
“In the Garage“ – Weezer
Few bands epitomize social awkwardness and isolation quite like Weezer. “In the Garage” is almost scarily accurate to how many people are no doubt dealing with quarantine: reading our favorite books, playing board games, and blasting our favorite music. While it’s very cute and almost too endearing, it also portrays the positive side of being alone. It feels nice to be safe and be yourself indoors, even if you may not have others to share your life with at the moment. Sometimes it’s nice to just do your own thing with no consequences at your house; if there’s any time to indulge in your favorite activities, now is the time. “In the Garage” is the mission statement to being the best version of yourself inside, where no one cares about your ways.
We hope you are all safe with your families during these hard times!